The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. In 1980, Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The Bangladeshi proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation during a summit which was held in New Delhi. The seven South Asian countries, which also included Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan, agreed on five areas of cooperation:
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Meteorology
- Health and Population Activities
- Human Resource Development
Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping at the behest of India on November 13, 2005, With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). The People's Republic of China, the European Union, the United States of America, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia, and Mauritus are observers to SAARC. (more)
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, was an undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC (07:58:53 local time) on December 26, 2004. The earthquake triggered a series of lethal tsunamis that spread throughout the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people and devastating coastal communities across South and South East Asia, including parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and elsewhere. The number of casualties were 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing, for a total of 229,866 affected. This catastrophe is one of the deadliest disasters in modern history and is known in Asia and in the international media as the Asian Tsunami, and also called the Boxing Day Tsunami. The magnitude of the earthquake has been upgraded to between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale. This earthquake was also reported to be the longest duration of faulting ever observed, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds, and it was large enough that it caused the entire planet to vibrate at least half an inch, or over a centimetre. The earthquake originated in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island, off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response, with more than US$7 billion donated in aid for those affected. (more...)
Did you know
- ...that five mountains in Pakistan are more than 8,000 meters high, including K2 which is the second highest mountain in the world ?
- ...that the king of Bhutan lifted a ban on television and the Internet in 1999, making Bhutan one of the last countries to introduce television?
Selected Member Country
The Maldives (or Maldive Islands), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an island nation consisting of a group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The Maldives is located south of India's Lakshadweep islands, and about seven hundred kilometers (435 mi) south-west of Sri Lanka. The Maldives' twenty-six atolls encompass a territory featuring 1,192 islets, roughly two hundred of which are inhabited by local communities.
The name "Maldives" derives from Maale Dhivehi Raajje ("The Island Kingdom [under the authority of] Malé")". Some scholars believe that the name "Maldives" derives from the Sanskrit maladvipa, meaning "garland of islands", or from mahila dvipa, meaning "island of women", but these names are not found in ancient Sanskrit literature. Instead, classical Sanskrit texts mention the "Hundred Thousand Islands" (Lakshadweep); a generic name which would include not only the Maldives, but also the Laccadives and the Chagos island groups. Some medieval Arab travellers such as Ibn Batuta called the islands "Mahal Dibiyat" from the Arabic word Mahal ("palace")". This is the name presently inscribed in the scroll of the Maldive state emblem.
Originally the inhabitants were Buddhist, but Islam was introduced in 1153. It later became a Portuguese (1558), Dutch (1654), and British (1887) colonial possession. In 1965, the Maldives obtained independence from Britain (originally under the name "Maldive Islands"), and in 1968 the Sultanate was replaced by a Republic. However, in thirty-eight years, the Maldives have seen only two Presidents, though political restrictions have loosened somewhat recently.
The Maldives is the smallest Asian country in terms of population. It is also the smallest predominantly Muslim nation in the world.
At a glance
This map shows the Geologic - Tectonic map of the Himalaya, modified after Le Fort (1988).
Map credit: Pierre Dèzes 1999, "Tectonic and metamorphic Evolution of the Central Himalayan Domain in Southeast Zanskar (Kashmir, India)".
Adi Shankara (Malayalam: ആദി ശങ്കരന്, Devanāgarī: आदि शङ्कर, Ādi Śaṅkara, IPA: [aːd̪i ɕəŋkərə]); (possibly 788 – 820 CE, but see below), also known as Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya ("the teacher at the feet of God"), and Ādi Śaṅkarācārya ("the first Shankara in his lineage") was the first philosopher to consolidate the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the soul and Brahman, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes. In the Smārta tradition, Adi Shankara is regarded as an incarnation of Shiva.
Adi Shankara toured India with the purpose of propagating his teachings through discourses and debates with other philosophers. He founded four mathas ("monasteries") which played a key role in the historical development, revival and spread of post-Buddhist Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta. Adi Shankara was the founder of the Dashanami monastic order and the Shanmata tradition of worship.
His works in Sanskrit, all of which are extant today, concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita (Sanskrit, "Non-dualism"). Adi Shankara quotes extensively from the Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures in forming his teachings. He also includes arguments against opposing schools of thought like Samkhya and Buddhism in his works. (more...)
Wikipedia in South Asian Languages
: ['kolkat̪a] (help·info)
), formerly Calcutta (help·info)
, is the capital
of the Indian state
of West Bengal
. It is located in eastern India
on the east bank of the River Hooghly
. The city has a population
of almost 4.5 million, with an extended metropolitan population of over 14 million, making it the third-largest urban agglomeration
and the fourth-largest city
Kolkata served as the capital of India during the British Raj until 1911. Once the centre of modern education, science, culture and politics in India, Kolkata witnessed economic stagnation in the years following India's independence in 1947. However, since the year 2000, an economic rejuvenation has arrested the morbid decline, leading to a spurt in the city's growth. Like other large cities, Kolkata continues to struggle with urbanisation problems like poverty, pollution and traffic congestion.
Kolkata is noted for its revolutionary history, ranging from the Indian struggle for independence to the leftist and trade union movements. This vibrant city, with a distinct socio-political culture, is considered by many as the Cultural capital of India. (more)